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  1. #1

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    Clear coat touch up pen/wet sanding

    I`ve read good things about the automotivetouchup.com clearcoat pens, and always had trouble myself with dabbing dealer touchup clear coat on and it eventually coming off. If I understand it correctly, it will not interact with/delaminate clear already on the car. There are a couple of areas I would like to touch up, and wet sand/polish if the experts think it`s doable safely. First, a thin scratch that you can feel sections of with your fingernail (supposedly indicating full penetration to the color coat), but it almost disappears under little beading rainwater droplets (which supposedly is an indicator of clear coat left, unless it`s possible the water is acting as a default "clear coat` on top of color. I tried to attach the photo but it didn`t upload for some reason--this is the only of the three spots that shows up well enough on camera. Its two parallel scratches, like someone with a watch or something brushed up against it. There is another one a couple of inches below it, but the fingernail doesn`t catch on it.

    There is a little pinky-nail sized chip I successfully dealt with using Dr. ColorChip, but since it has clear mixed in, it`s a little darker than the surrounding paint (otherwise it is really impressive how much of a match it is). The center of the chip is really all that was needed to be filled, as water indicated the rest of the white area was into the clearcoat.

    I`m thinking I should only apply the 2000 grit to the sections of the scratch I can feel with my fingernail. What I`m wanting to do is wet sand with 2000 grit hole-punched and superglued to the eraser end of a pencil like I`ve read for very small areas, then lightly compound and polish with a micro D/A, then apply a couple coats of the clear coat pen, let it dry for 30 days, and use the same sanding/compound/polish technique to level out. My concern is not overdoing it along the carping clear coat areas that are under the touchup pen-applied areas, as it will have been somewhat thinned by the first smoothing. I`m thinking the wide end of the pen would be ideal for more insurance/coverage, since some surrounding clear will have been removed, vs the thin tip.

    I`ve read some say only the sanding is needed before the clear touch up is performed, then sand/compound/polish afterwards. Does this mean the clear would hide the light sanding marks that buffing would otherwise take out? If so, it would limit clear and repair removal, but would it look just as good? Also, some scratches wrap around the door edge; is this best dealt with D/A compound/pad just being allowed to make contact without deliberately making a turn at the edge and trying to hard to focus on it?

    Finally, can this technique be performed on console tambor wood slats? When my car was repainted, someone carelessly (even though I had towels laid across it expressly for protection and I explained it) stowed the C-pillar sail panels across it and the clips scratched the pristine wood, across two slats. Rather than having the whole thing refinished and risking further damage/unnecessary time, if the same thing can carefully be done in a way that doesn`t round off the laser sharp slat edges that would be great. Would using the edge of the micro on rotary mode at an angle very lightly be a way to deal with it without dismantling all the slats? And, would even finishing polish be a way to match the factory gloss? It`s an isolated area but bugs me.

    Thanks,
    Drew

  2. #2

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    Re: Clear coat touch up pen/wet sanding

    From my experience the longer the scratch the more noticeable it will be. Sometimes you are best polishing then leaving alone. Sanding the area before and after is the way to go if you decide to. The sanding marks will be removed during the polishing step.
    I never use the clear coat with the factory touch up pins. Tends to muck up the job.
    The woodgrain that you mention, this is a console?

  3. #3

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    Re: Clear coat touch up pen/wet sanding

    DewPT- Some sorta-random thoughts follow, hope something`s useful..

    I`d make the shop that did the damage replace those wooden slats, that`s simply beyond the pale.

    I`d also forget about that "water test" and inspect dry/clean panels under magnification and good lighting.

    The touchup paint you used shouldn`t have come off...oughta last forever as long as you don`t over-abrade it or use a solvent on it. I have touchups (including those using touchup paint from the dealers) that`ve stayed fine for decades. I suspect imperfect prep, but since not all touchup paints are the same, well..there are lots of variables. But the fixes shouldn`t just delaminate, period.

    Sometimes one touchup paint matches better than another. IF the DrColorchips wasn`t quite right perhaps one of the countless other sources will have one that better matches that particular paint. It can take a lot of experimenting (and/or custom-mixing) to get it "good enough" whatever that means to you. I`ve learned to settle for "not too bad" since better matches are so rare (and basically never happen on metallics).

    I DO NOT recommend that anybody without experience try wetsanding. NO, it`s not some mystic art that only some savant can handle, but it *is* perhaps the #1 cause of "I did irreparable damage and want to know how to fix it" type problems (the correct response being.."you can`t fix that, just take it to a paint shop and have it redone" so don`t be that guy).

    Have you considered using a solvent-based leveling system? Didn`t that work OK with the DrColorchips? It might take a few (or a few dozen!) tries, but once you get the hang of it their solvent, or the Langka Blob Eliminator, can work pretty well. And "pretty well" with no chance of real damage is better than "potentially better than pretty well" *with* a chance of real damage..at least IMO.

    (Note that I never do the DrColorchips with the recommended "smear it all over and the.." approach, but rather apply it like a conventional touchup paint using tiny artist`s brushes. And I`m *VERY* meticulous about using their solvent to level. And that particular paint is very fragile so I never subsequently abrade it if I can help it lest it need redone.)

    Working on panel edges is very challenging! Many of us do those by hand, and for good reason.

    I hope you don`t take the above the wrong way, I`m sure not intending to insult you or your abilities. I just see "FAIL" written all over this, based on what so often happens.

  4. #4

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    Re: Clear coat touch up pen/wet sanding

    Thanks guys, I wish I could upload a photo (i don`t know why it won`t let me). The door scratches are about 2.5 inches and a diagonal swoosh look, like two parallel white lines. To be conservative on material removal, would it make sense that I try compounding first (perhaps a heavy compound) then light compound/correcting polish, before resorting to wet sanding any areas that may still fail the fingernail test? This may isolate a few smaller lines to sand, then go back and compound those then finish polish the general area. I wonder if a blue foam compound pad or microfiber pad would be more ideal for this scenario (using a new D/A micro swirl killer) with 1.5" pad? I understand the microfiber removes more material which I want to minimize, but given the depth of the scratches maybe it`s better than sanding.

  5. #5

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    Re: Clear coat touch up pen/wet sanding

    Yes Bad Penny, rear seat roll-up xylophone top console, CLS 550.

  6. #6

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    Re: Clear coat touch up pen/wet sanding

    Quote Originally Posted by DrewPT View Post
    To be conservative on material removal, would it make sense that I try compounding first (perhaps a heavy compound) then light compound/correcting polish, before resorting to wet sanding any areas that may still fail the fingernail test?
    If it already fails the fingernail test it needs more paint on there. That`s too severe to correct through abrasion alone.

    The problem with "compounding first to see what you`ll need to wetsand" is that by the time you start wetsanding you`ve already compounded away lots of clear. One of the arguments *for* wetsanding is that, *done right*, it can result in *less* clear being taken off overall.

    But the deepest stuff will need some kind of touchup as it`s already to that point even before you start thinning the clear.

    I`m guessing that you`re doing this without an ETG, right? Oh man, that can be challenging (to put it mildly). At least, I gather, this is a Benz, so it`s not the thinnest clear in the world...

    ..[so I plan to].. sand, then go back and compound those then finish polish the general area. I wonder if a blue foam compound pad or microfiber pad would be more ideal for this scenario (using a new D/A micro swirl killer) with 1.5" pad? I understand the microfiber removes more material which I want to minimize, but given the depth of the scratches maybe it`s better than sanding.
    Given the wetsanding, I wouldn`t worry about the diff in aggressiveness between those two pads. I`d follow the 2K with either 3K or 4K and *then* compound. I`d probably only use the 2K to level touchups (some would use 1500 first instead) as it`s more aggressive than one might think.

    This still makes me nervous for you, and I`m not in the "never wetsand" camp by a long shot. I`m just in the "don`t [screw] up your paint by wetsanding" camp

    Oh man would I be...displeased...if somebody damaged the interior wood on a car like that! I`d be..displeased..enough if I found a fingerprint anywhere on the Audis!

  7. #7

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    Re: Clear coat touch up pen/wet sanding

    Correct, no ETG. Yes, I was planning on trying the automotive touchup.com clear coat pen, and from everything I`ve read/watched the affected area that`s too deep (not through color coat thankfully) should be knocked down with wet sanding to smooth out the peaks and valleys, and done so either perpendicularly or diagonally to the scratch line. My plan was to then compound out the sanding marks, polish, then add the clear coat pen, then repeat to smooth out. My goal is to preserve/add to try to get back as close to even as possible.

  8. #8

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    Re: Clear coat touch up pen/wet sanding

    DrewPT- You`re doing your research, just be *VERY* careful when sanding. I`ve never done all that much before applying the touchup paint, basically just enough to ensure no loose edges around the damage.

    But hey, I`m no big authority as I`ve hardly ever tried touching up *scratches*, primarily just chips (and I`m getting less concerned with doing those).

    I wonder if a SEARCH would still find the thread where BradB did the *great* touchup on his Porsche. That had a nasty scratch but he fixed it with an airbrush (and plenty of time/effort). Didn`t come out right at first, but he kept at it and eventually it turned out great. That was on silver too, really *REALLY* challenging job.

    Just treat that sandpaper/block with a lot of respect, and I don`t mean "two strokes before you inspect". Working without an ETG reduces the margin for error a lot...I dunno for sure if I`d try it, and I`m not lacking in confidence.

  9. #9

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    Re: Clear coat touch up pen/wet sanding

    Accumulator, I looked for his thread, but when I click on any links given it just takes me to the main Autopia forum, like it`s expired or been removed. I`ve gathered from the context of other threads about how he did it.

    The scratches on mine are hair thin, but unsightly. A thin airbrush spray line would cover it plus a little. I just wonder if the paint layers would be too thin to smooth out, as the nozzle will have to be turned way down to a minimal opening. If it is feasible, I wonder if wet sanding it this way vs dabbed on would be a smoother operation.

    Also, would compounding/polishing not be necessary until after the final sanding post-touch up? On the automotivetouchup site, it says clear will hide 1500 grit scratches. I thought one was supposed to compound/polish after the first sanding, but if it`s not necessary then it would preserve more original clearcoat.

    For a line so thin, I wonder how the tip on a clear touchup pen would work vs liquid clear dabbed in.

  10. #10

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    Re: Clear coat touch up pen/wet sanding

    DrewPT- I dunno...I posted about Brad`s experience mainly as a "see, it can be done..". Too bad it`s not available any more, it really did have a lot of good info (which I wish I remembered better ).

    BUT...that was with a good airbrush. Having used a nice Paasche many times for various things long ago, I can say that it`s not something you`ll pick up expertise with in just a few sessions. Note that Brad botched up his first few attempts, and he`s one very capable guy. If *I* tried doing it that way I`m sure I`d mess it up a few times before I got it right.

    I have a few scratches on the Tahoe like what we`re discussing. When I first got it, I thought long and hard about touching them up and how I`d go about it. I decided to just let` em go...rounded `em with compound/polish and lived with them. I sure don`t *like* them, but after a decade or so I`m used to them. If it were something I could do quick/easy without risking a big issue, I would`ve tried it by now. But OK, that`s my beater-Tahoe! You`re dealing with something you want nicer than that. So...

    I *think* that in your case, I`d get some tiny artist`s brushes (not *too* tiny..like, not smaller than 000 or even just 00), some good lighting and magnification, and do it by hand. Then I`d try to level it chemically, expecting to botch it up (due to lack of experience, hope I don`t sound insulting but it does sometimes take a few tries especially the first few times) and not just level it, but *remove* it and have to then start over. BUT..that`s OK! A good learning experience each time and no harm done (more than you can say about an "oops!" when sanding).

    With something like that I don`t think I`d sand *first* unless I were concerned about some "edges of the scratch" flaking off.

    I`m really trying to talk you out of wetsanding, huh?

 

 

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